The Happy Isles Of Oceania
Paul Theroux’s journeys have taken readers to the ends of the earth and back again- across China in Riding The Iron Rooster, deep into the Americas in the Old Patagonian Express, through Europe and Asia in The Great Railway Bazaar. Now Theroux launches his most exotic and tantalizing adventure yet, as he kayaks the shimmering Pacific from island to island, exploring its surfy coasts and blue lagoons, and happily taking up residence to discover the secrets of these happy isles.
Theroux compares the vast Pacific to the Universe: each island like a distant star, each archipelago like a galaxy. His travels begin in what he calls “Meganesia”: the great islands of New Zealand, where he walks the mountain trails of the Fiordland wilderness; and Australia, where he hikes the red ranges around Alice Springs (“Oceania after someone has pulled the plug”) and camps among crocodiles and wild pigs on an Aboriginal reserve.
Then, traveling with his collapsible kayak. Theroux lives among the Trobriand Islanders of New Guinea, and discovers the truth about their fabled sexual lives. From there, via the megapode egg-diggers of the Solomon Islands and the cargo cults of Vanuatu, he proceeds to Melanesian Fiji and Polynesian Tonga, where he is granted an audience with King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV. After living a Robinson Crusoe fantasy on a desert island, Theroux continues under tropical skies to Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tahiti, the Marquesas, and the last points on the Polynesian triangle: Easter Island and the paradise of Hawaii.
PB 733 pages